Mayweather vs. Marquez Movie Theater Report

Over the years, I have paid for a pay-per-view fight to watch by myself, such as Paulie Ayala vs. Erik Morales, and Jones-Tarver II, gotten a bunch of people to split the price, like when Tyson fought McNeely and Holyfield, or gone over to the family's house. But over the last few years, I have watched the majority of the PPV fights at a local bar/restaurant. I have never, however, watched a fight in a movie theater until Number One/ Numero Uno.

The broadcast started at 9 pm my time, so I arrived at the theater at ten of 9, not really knowing what I would find when I got there. There hadn't been any advertising anywhere I had been or seen outside of the boxing media, so I was expecting the theater to be empty. As I approached the theater complex, there were no posters or advertisements for the fight on the outside. I had pre-purchased my tickets, so I didn't have to go to the box office, but I snuck a peak at the board, and one theater had the description "Mayweather" on the box office sign. The tickets were only $15 a piece, which is a great deal, at least in my opinion. And they were rated PG-13, for what it's worth.

I walked into the theater area, and this complex has approximately 20 theaters. Only one theater was showing the fight, and it was all the way towards the back of the complex. As I walked all the way to the rear, I once again saw no posters or ads for the fight, so I was expecting no one to be there. Security was extra tight for the fight's theater. There were three ticket takers/staff employees at the door checking tickets. I got my ticket punched and entered the hallway.

I looked up at the screen on the way in, and there wasn't the usual pre-movie nonsense, trivia and ads and such, but a still, poster-like shot of the two fighters. I turned the corner and was shocked to see a nearly completely full theater. There were next to no empty seats, except for scattered singles and seats in the first two rows. I ended up having to take the aisle seat in row two.

This was a shock to me to see not only the number of fans, but how early they were. At the fights themselves in person, the ticket-buying public doesn't even arrive earlier than the broadcasted fights. In my bar-going experiences, the crowd only shuffles in around 11, and most of the people who are there are still watching football and baseball games that haven't ended yet.

The fight-watching experience itself was quite amazing. Obviously, the HD screen in the theater is much larger than any screen you will find in a home or bar. The detail was incredible, especially in the close-ups like when they zoomed in on Katsidis' cut above the eye. Also, since I was in a theater and not a bar, I found myself able to watch the undercard fights much more closely than I could at a bar. I had my own seat, bar patrons were not bumping me around, there was no meal to eat, and there were no other screens to distract me. Also, at least in my local bar, they don't turn every TV to the fights until the main event. Here, there was only one screen, and it was all boxing.

There was a major difference between watching a movie in a theater and a fight in a theater as far as the overall atmosphere. You can actually talk to other people in the theater with you, because it is not as rude to talk during a fight as it would be during a movie. The sound was so loud anyway that you couldn't really hear anything but the broadcast team and the person right next to you, but it was a bit more relaxed in the theater than it would be for a movie.

On the downside, four hours is a long time to be in a theater. The seats aren't overly comfortable, and the bathrooms are usually far away, making a trip to the bathroom a little bit more time consuming. Also, there's no alcohol, and the food choices are much sparser than in a restaurant. Still, even with inflated movie theater snack prices, you can easily get a ticket, a large soda and a large popcorn for below the home price of a $50 PPV.

The crowd inside the theater was fairly vocal, cheering every time there was a major blow landed by any fighter, even during the undercard fights. I was surprised at how attentive the crowd was to even the Chris John-Rocky Juarez fight, which had its slower points. The crowd really perked up when Juarez wobbled John in the 12th, as they had been somewhat starving for action. Also, as mentioned before, they didn't have anything else to do or anywhere to go, so their attention was on the fights themselves, and probably their Blackberries.

The broadcast itself moved at a brisk pace, aided greatly by the two lead-in fights to the main event going the full 12 rounds. There weren't the usual lengthy gaps in the action when the undercard fights only go a few rounds each. My crowd was extremely pro-Money May and thus had a lot to cheer about. I was also pleasantly surprised that the theater allowed us to watch and hear the entire broadcast, even the interviews at the end. The bar I go to immediately blasts loud music after the decision is announced in an attempt to clear people out, which annoys me to no end as I never get to hear Larry Merchant grill people or Max Kellerman get zany.

So all in all, it was a great experience. A person going to watch a fight by themselves, or with only one other person, or just wanting to watch on the largest HD screen they will ever get to a see a fight on, should go this route for sure. Otherwise, even with the affordable $15 ticket price, it only takes but a few friends to make the $50 price just as affordable, and with the Tecate rebate, even less.

I was defintely impressed with both the number of people at the theater and their level of engagement with the fights. On a side note, I was also very fortunate to have a theater showing the fight literally only five minutes from my house. I took a look at the theater list, and in a city like New York City, for instance, there was only one theater showing the fight in the entire city as far as I could tell. I really lucked out in that regard. If you have a long way to go to find a theater, it may dampen your enthusiasm to go there.

Aside from the food and beverage choices, the movie theater experience beat the bar experience in every other way. Hopefully the boxing industry continues to explore this distribution mechanism. You figure though, if all 170 theaters had 100 seats, and they all sold out at $15 a ticket, that's still only $255,000. That's a nice amount, sure, but when one fighter is willing to voluntarily forego over two times that in order to keep two pounds, this revenue is but a drop in the bucket. And if you spread over too many theaters, and the fight isn't a big enough draw, you are exposing yourself to some risk there. Still, I am no boxing promoter, and those that are are much smarter than I am in regards to the business details, so I am sure they will figure it all out.

I have to give the overall experience a solid and enthusiastic A.

Posted by uatu


TKirby said...

I also saw this in the Theater and give the experience a solid "A". Watched it at the Penn Theater in Lancaster for only $10. One of the hosts said they are also planning to show The Paquiao Cotto PPV.

uatu said...

There weren't any announcements about Cotto-PacMan at my theater, but I would go to see that fight as well for sure. It will be interesting to see if the ticket-buying public continues to go not just once as a novelty, but repeatedly multiple times per year. I bet if they go once, they will see how great it is and go again.

If the amount of theaters nationwide as well as per complex stays reasonable, I could see sell outs for every big fight.